First, you have to know what makes for a great deli. Is it simply a sandwich shop? Is it a department at a large grocer? Is it where you get sliced luncheon meats?

If you search for “delicatessen” on the internet it says, “a deli is a retail establishment that sells a selection of unusual or foreign prepared foods.” In that search a couple come to mind immediately—Charlie’s Deli and Catering in Old North Dayton and DiSalvo’s Deli and Italian Store in Kettering—and both fit the definition.

However, we have come to expect a deli to have great, sometimes even large, sandwiches. For those of us that grew up in Dayton you will remember The Upper Krust, a New York-style deli. In that same internet search a couple of other mainstays come up that are more fitting to today’s expectation of a deli. Those are Flyboys Deli in Oakwood and The Deli at 32 Webster Street, near the Second Street Market.

These are the four on which I want to focus. First, the oldest of the group—Charlie’s Deli and Catering at 429 Troy St. in Old North Dayton. Charlie’s has been serving Old North Dayton for more than 40 years. Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Charlie’s is known for great overstuffed sandwiches and their famous cabbage rolls. You can even dine in the back room and find a large amount of German import items available for purchase, including beers and wines. Stop in and try a Reuben served on imported German rye or the Pounder served with ham, turkey, roast beef, salami, Colby cheese, Swiss cheese and condiments, or if you’re brave enough try the 2 Pounder! Sandwich prices range from $2.75 to $7.95. You can also get great salads and even chicken spaetzle soup (or one of the other nine soup options).

DiSalvo’s Deli is located at 1383 E. Stroop Road, next door to the family restaurant. DiSalvo’s Deli is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. This Italian deli has a large selection of imported grocery items, meats, cheeses and homemade breads. There are also salads, soups, desserts and wines—as well as many signature items. Stop in for a fresh sub or soup and shop while you’re there. There is a wide selection of olive oils, breads, pastas and sauces. Don’t forget the cassata cake, cannoli, tiramisu or even the Italian apricot rum torte. Why bake dessert for your next dinner—stop into DiSalvo’s and let them do the work. You will not be disappointed.

So those are the true-to-form delicatessens in town, but what about the New York-style sandwich shops? We also have a couple of those options in town, too! The first that comes to mind is Flyboy’s Deli at 2515 Far Hills Ave. in Oakwood. Flyboy’s is open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Flyboy’s Deli offers New York-style sandwiches, beer and wine and outdoor seating on a rooftop patio. Some of the menu item names pay tribute to the great inventors from the Dayton area. You can try sandwiches like “The Wright” made with roasted turkey, cranberry orange chutney and herbed cheese, or “The Triangle” club with a reference to the first American Football Association (now the NFL) franchise—the Dayton Triangles. “The Triangle” club has ham, bacon, turkey, tomato, lettuce, mayonaisse and Swiss cheese on three pieces of toasted bread. There are also appetizers, salads, soups, pizzas and even breakfast items. Most sandwiches range in price from $5.95 to $8.25, however, for the brave or folks wanting to share there is the “New Yorker” with 10 ounces of pastrami and corned beef separated by sharp cheddar cheese served with coleslaw and Russian dressing on marbled rye for $18.99—definitely worth a try!

The other great sandwich shop is The Deli on Webster. It is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Daily specials are posted by 10:30 a.m. each day. The Deli has soups, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, signature sandwiches, burgers and desserts. The “Signature Sandwiches” range in price from $6.99 to $8.29.

So you don’t have to go to a big city for a true delicatessen or a New York-style sandwich deli. There are four great options right here! Give them all a try. They will keep you coming back for more!



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